book reviews


I don’t care if a reader hates one of my stories, just as long as he finishes the book.”
—Roald Dahl

I love Roald Dahl, author of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, but don’t know exactly what he meant by that quote. Did he just want you to read for the sake of reading? Or give the book a chance?

I think if you don’t like a book and gave it a fighting chance, say fifty pages, it’s okay to give up. Not every book is for everybody.

I found this quote interesting because I also review books and will admit I couldn’t finish some. As an author, I’d prefer that method over a less than stellar review. Forcing yourself to read is like being back in school. Reading should be for pleasure. When I taught, I felt the library was one of the places children could choose. I didn’t have to tell them what to read. They could start a book and put it down if it wasn’t for them. They’d have another chance the next week to find something new.

So what do you think? What did Roald Dahl mean in his quote? Do you agree or not? I’d love to hear from you.

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Science Fiction. Romance. Crime and Mystery. Historical. When you read, is your first instinct to pick a genre? Probably, otherwise you may not like the book for that very reason. I recently ran into this genre problem. Horror is off my list. I’m not a fan of being scared and especially don’t want to read anything creepy. I avoid it at all costs. I like to stay in my comfort zone.

A few weeks ago, my son, who works at Barnes and Noble, bought a book—HORRORSTOR. He sees the latest and newest books coming into the store and found it to his liking. The cover caught my eye, but I knew better. It fell under the Horror Genre. Still I couldn’t resist flipping through its pages. The book is set up like an IKEA style catalog and the store in the book, ORSK, is a carbon copy.

Still intrigued, I told myself I could stop reading if I didn’t like it. I liked the fact the book was set in Cleveland. I could picture the store off I-77 and recognized the TV station mentioned in the book.

We only have one IKEA in Ohio–Cincinnati. The closest one to me is in Pittsburgh. Funny thing, I was going to make my first trip there, only having visited one store in Chicago.

So I thought it was the perfect time to read HORRORSTOR. Amy, the main character, works at ORSK while attending college. She’s the typical disinterested employee who rolls her eyes at the company’s rhetoric. Basil, her gun-ho younger boss, follows all the rules and recites policy to all that will listen. Strange happenings occur overnight. When the crew shows up for work each morning, the employees find broken or stained items. Basil decides to stay overnight to find the culprit and asks Amy to work a night shift along with another employee, Ruth Anne. They find two of their co-workers already there, ghost hunting.

Not writing a review here, just filling you in. It turns out the store has been built where an old prison once stood. You can take it from there. The ORSK store is haunted.

And guess what? I finished the book. I did skim a few paragraphs here and there when descriptions got graphic, but I made it till the end. I did dream I was in an IKEA type store and strange things happened, but it wasn’t too bad. I sent a text to my son while we were in the real IKEA store – HORRORSTOR Are you lost? But I’m okay.

HORRORSTOR is part satirical and part horror. I think the author equated the prison to working in retail. It would be rated on the lighter scale of the horror spectrum.

I enjoyed the book. There I said it. I’d recommend it for an interesting read. Book in hand would be better than digital. It’s fun to look at the pictures and read the made-up names for the furniture. So I guess I’m tearing apart my genre theory. Try going out of your comfort zone. If you don’t like the book you choose, you can stop reading. But you may keep reading, and find the book stays with you. Not because it scared the crap out of you, but because you can’t stop thinking about what a clever story it was. Isn’t that what all good books do?

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Today I would like to welcome Sue Gesing, aka Read Around Sue. Authors depend on reviews and are grateful to those people who love to read so much they create a blog! After having a summer of author tips, I thought readers would appreciate a look at books from the other side. Read on for my Q&A with Read Around Sue.

  1. Tell us about yourself.

I’m a retired kindergarten teacher who has loved to read her entire life.  I have two grown children and a husband who support me in all my endeavors.  My latest is a cupcake company.

  1. How many books can you read in a week?

It depends.  Sometimes if I am swamped I can read four or five.  I don’t like to do that though as I like to read as carefully as I can.  I’ve always been a speedy reader!

  1. Why a review blog?

I knew a lot of independent and small publisher authors need all the support they can get so I decided to go for it and lend them a hand.

  1. Favorite book genre?

I concentrate mostly on YA and NA but I’ll read anything if it captures my interest.

  1. Will you review every book sent to you? If not, what won’t you read?

 No, I won’t read every book that is sent my way.  I never do horror or erotica, they are just not for me.

  1. Did you always like to read? Favorite book as a child. As an adult.

You bet I have always loved to read!  My favorite as a kid was the Mrs. Piggle Wiggle Series by Betty MacDonald.  I don’t have a favorite book as an adult because I enjoy too many of them.  If I was forced to pick, I couldn’t do it!

  1. Do you prefer print books or eReader?

Both are fine by me.

  1. When you review a book, do typographical errors bother you? Would it affect your review?

Oh, you just caught my pet peeve.  I hate typos and misused language like their for there.  I don’t let it affect my review unless I know the author was the editor and no one else. Then I feel I have to speak up.  Some books I’ve read have been spoiled by too many errors.

  1. I like the fact you will only give three stars or above to books you review. Sometimes you just can’t do that. How do you let an author know you won’t be reading their book after accepting it?

Well, that’s not an easy question.  I am sensitive to the fact that an author works hard and loves their book with a passion.  I usually just say, I’m sorry your book is not for me.  That’s about the kindest way I can think of to do it.

  1. Do you take genre into consideration? Let’s say, it wasn’t for you, but was a good book.

I don’t really take genre into consideration unless it is in horror or erotica which I don’t read. If a book wasn’t for me but was well written I would give it the review I felt it deserved and try to put my personal feelings aside.

  1. Can authors directly contact you or do they have to use a blog tour?

Authors can contact me on their own if they wish.  Just go to the submission page and follow the instructions.  Here is the blog site link again

  1. What services do you provide authors?

We can work out just about anything.  I have done giveaways, interviews, character interviews and guest blogs. 

  1. And finally, did you ever write a book or want to be an author?

Yes, I wrote a book. It is not for publication but I learned a lot doing it.  My dreams of being an author are over and I’m happy to be a reviewer.


Thanks, Nancy for having me today.  I enjoyed answering your questions.  I am open for submissions at if any of your readers are interested.  Again, thanks for the opportunity to share my thoughts.


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Call of the Canyon is now on Amazon with paperback still to follow. Second in my Young Adult series, Waiting for Dusk. There. I’m done advertising. Well, not really. I’ll give you a sneak peek of what’s to come.

Two Lives…
Two Worlds…
Heartbreak awaits.

Exciting, right? Well, you have to like young adult fiction and be into romance and fantasy and time travel. If not, that’s okay.

Writing comes easy. It’s the promotion that’s hard. Trust me, I know. I’m a reviewer, too, and I see all the emails that come into the website’s mailbox. I’ll share a few funny ones with you.

One person started his greeting with he’ll take any kind of review–good, bad or indifferent. What? Really? He’s been sitting in the queue for months; no one’s touching that one. Still there, as far as I know.  I wonder why? I want someone to wish with all their might for a good review. Be sure of themselves but just not over the top.

Another person almost made it to my review folder until I got to the bottom of the email and checked out his list of rules. Rules? You don’t give the reviewer rules! Sorry, back to the main list, let someone else deal with your rules if they want.

The “Hey, what’s happening? I have a good book for you to read” is also a turn-off. Remember when asking anyone to read your book, blog, news article, be respectful. The reviewer will appreciate it and give it proper consideration.

So I’m not going to ask you to read my book at all costs, even if it’s not your genre or interests you and may give it an indifferent review. I won’t give you rules or ask you what’s happening. I’ll just respectfully ask, if it interests you, please take a peek. And if you do, I say this with tongue-in-cheek humor; I may become your new favorite author.

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